Back in the day the famed tv producer/executive/genius Peter Meakin opined to me that the most compelling figure on Australian television was Sam Newman.
“Why’s that?” I asked.
“Because he’s so dangerous,” Meakin replied. “You just never know what he’s going to say next.”
It was an acute observation, and there are obvious political parallels. Pauline Hanson used to have the same quality, until we worked out, to use Philip Adams felicitous phrase, that her views were “little more than a fart from the deep colon of the Australian psyche,” and she faded fast. Barnaby Joyce was another, until the Nats decided to follow the logic of LBJ’s famous aphorism, and decided it was better to have him inside the tent pissing out, than outside the tent pissing in, and he has been much calmer and less compelling viewing since.
But have we ever seen one like the just installed Senator Jacqui Lambie from – where else, but – Tassie. Part of the Palmer United Party, her every utterance seems laced with three parts menace to two parts ignorance and five parts sheer bellicosity. Calling the Prime Minister a “political psychopath” this week proved to be among the more mild of her remarks. Most fascinating, was when Mrs TFF interviewed her on the Today Show on Friday and asked her did she have ambitions to be prime minister herself, her response was unequivocal.
Hold on to your hats, and strap on your seat-belts, folks. I think we may be in for a hell of a ride. And though it is too much to say the lunatics have taken over the asylum, it is clear they have the balance of power.
PAPER TRAIL ENDS HERE
The scene is set in downtown Sydney last Monday lunchtime. The wind roars through the concrete canyons of Sydney . . . up Sussex Street, right on to Market Sreet and down George Street before bursting into Martin Place . . . just as a busy businessman on the phone is scurrying to his next appointment. And watch now as the wicked wind tugs at the cover of the bag he is wheeling behind him, an instant before a whole sheaf of papers come whirling out to be scattered all around the Cenotaph, as he keeps walking . . . oblivious.
Sydney swings into action. A grandmotherly figure in her runners sprints off after him to get his attention while at the same time – with no-one saying anything – a dozen passersby including office workers, fellow business-people, tourists, a student and some retirees all stomp their feet down on the papers as they fly past. The businessman returns, thanking everyone as they remove the papersfrom under their footwear and hand them all back to him. Job done. Everyone moves on.
Gotta love this city!
HARASSMENT TOPS RACIST RANT
You will have seen the woman on the train this week, spilling racist bile over half the people in the carriage, in a manner to make us all ashamed. On Friday morning I asked the new Commissioner for Human Rights Tim Wilson, if he still stood by his proclaimed view on Lateline that such ugliness should be free to emerge, unrestricted by laws of anti-vilification – that it is better to get them into the open, rather than fester in people’s hearts.
His response was as quick as it was vigorous: “Harassment, racially-based or otherwise, is already against the law. It is against the law because it comes into conflict with other human rights, such as free association. To me that woman's rant was a clear case of harassment, not just the expression of an offensive view. I suspect she would also be in violation of the terms of sale of her ticket, but I would have to check that.
Speech takes different forms. There is a point that speech that harasses can be restricted by law, but not merely because her view is offensive.”
GAG OF THE WEEK
The bank manager notices the new clerk is terrible when it comes to counting money and adding up figures.
“Where did you get your financial education?” he asks.
“Yale,” replies the lad. The manager is sure he’s misheard the man, so he asks his question again and the man again responds “Yale.”
That can't be right, thinks the manager. He decides he’s going to check it out online.
“And what's your full name again?” asks the manager.
THEY SAID IT
“With six bedrooms, five bathrooms and spaces for six cars, the circa 1868 Jenna House at 2 Macleay St Potts Point is ideal for the growing family, for those with about $20m to spend on their home.”
Excerpt from an article in last week’s Wentworth Courier.
"I know that logically it’s not my fault but I feel like my role is to protect my children and I failed them on that.’’
Radio personality Chrissie Swan on the magazine photo shoot with her children that sparked a barrage of online abuse.
“The British Museum refuses to return the Parthenon Marbles; the Nicholson Museum and University of Sydney donates a whole Acropolis!”
Michael Turner, senior curator at the Nicholson Museum, about a Lego Acropolis built by Ryan McNaught, the only Lego-certified professional in the southern hemisphere. After the Acropolis Museum in Athens asked to borrow the model, Ryan said they could have it. It contains more than 120,000 bricks and took about 300 hours to build.
“Pistorius did not suffer from a mental disorder or defect that affected his ability to distinguish right from wrong, or to act on that.”
From the assessment by four psychologists and psychiatrists at the Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital, where Oscar Pistorius was a day patient.
“It was Nick at his best, I guess.”
Nick Kyrgios’s father, Giorgos, after Nick beat Rafael Nadal.
“At the moment the only thing that’s open and transparent from the bank is their glass front doors.”
Merilyn Swan, one of the many calling for a Royal Commission into the Commonwealth Bank, after fighting the bank to regain her parents’ money.
“Rush, O Muslims to your state. It is your state. Syria is not for Syrians and Iraq is not for Iraqis. The land is for the Muslims, all Muslims. This is my advice to you. If you hold to it you will conquer Rome and own the world, if Allah wills.”
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-proclaimed leader of the Islamic state stretching across Iraq and Syria.
“@Peter_Fitz when I asked Todd to explain what a parabola is, I never thought it would cause so much trouble.”
Jamie @jmad01 on Twitter.